Over the holidays, I was able to return to Bali, this time meeting with my family. It was a wonderful time—2 weeks in all—though I must admit I experienced culture shock to go from rural Sumatra to Kuta’s busy hotel-lined streets. With the family I spent time time walking, shopping, and seeing some traditional dance among other things. I learned to surf and took a downhill bike tour. All in all a good time.
While in Bali I also learned more about the culture and family life. We took several trips to visit sites around the island using a hired driver. After taking my parents to the airport, I had 3 more nights to spend, so the driver took me to my next destination, Ubud. We spoke in Bahasa Indonesia, and during this time he told me a little bit about his life, and then invited me to his home. We arranged to make this happen just before I left. So, in the hours waiting for my afternoon flight out, I visited his home and met his wife—an experience not really available to tourists. I’d been in Indonesia 9 months at the time, so I knew how to be polite. We chatted in my limited Indonesian and her even more limited English.
Their home is simple, in the city of Kuta near the airport. Bapak (“father”, the driver) works hard to feed his family. He, in fact, had to work that day, so I didn’t even see him. Ibu (“mother”, the wife of the driver) was welcoming, and invited me to her village if I want to come back to Bali. Although they live in the city, every Balinese has a traditional family home in a village. I’d be honored to visit.
Below are a few photos of my time: